Childhood & Early Life
Adnan Khashoggi was born on July 25, 1935, in Mecca. His father, Mohammad Khashoggi, was a doctor. He was the personal physician of King Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the first monarch of Saudi Arabia. His parents had Turkish-Jewish ancestry. Khashoggi has two sisters - Samira Khashoggi, and Soheir Khashoggi. Both of them were well-known authors.
Khashoggi attended the ‘Victoria College,’ in Alexandria, Egypt, for his early studies. He also attended the ‘California State University,’ and the ‘Stanford University.’ He discontinued his studies to pursue his business ambitions.
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Adnan Khashoggi ventured into the field of business, quite early in life. During his school days, he was acquainted with several notable personalities, including Hussein bin Talal, who later became the King of Jordan. While in school, he facilitated a business deal between the fathers of two of his classmates. A Libyan classmate’s father wished to import towels, while an Egyptian classmate’s father was a manufacturer of towels. Khashoggi brought them together. For this, he earned a commission of US $1,000. This was the first business income that he earned.
In another of his early dealings, Khashoggi found that a construction company was facing hardships with their ordinary trucks, as they were not equipped for use in desert sands. Khashoggi purchased a few American trucks from Kensworth, and leased it to the company. These trucks had wider wheels which made desert travel easier. Gradually, he became the agent for ‘Kensworth.’
In the 1960s and 1970s, Khashoggi acted as a middleman between the government of Saudi Arabia, and several international firms. He handled defence and infrastructure contracts. Khashoggi spearheaded the marketing strategies for American defence and security company ‘Lockheed Martin.’ Initially, Khashoggi charged a commission of 2.5%, and that gradually rose to 15%, as his importance grew.
In the 1960s, Khashoggi established ‘Triad International Holding Company.’ The company made investments in several businesses across the globe. Khashoggi was primarily known for his arms deals. He was the main facilitator between the government of Saudi Arabia, and US firms. Several companies, such as the ‘Lockheed Martin Corporation,’ ‘Raytheon,’ ‘Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation,’ and ‘Northrop Corporation,’ were his clients.
‘Triad International’ established many subsidiaries, such as ‘Triad Management,’ Triad Properties,’ ‘Triad Energy,’ and ‘Triad Technology.’ It had its headquarters in Geneva. There were subsidiaries in countries like Canada, United States, and Saudi Arabia. They were involved in a wide spectrum of businesses such as hotels, banks, oil refineries, gold mines, and construction.
Adnan Khashoggi owned limousines, private jets, and yachts. He owned houses in several countries. He owned three luxurious yachts which were named ‘The Nabila,’ ‘The Mohammadia,’ and ‘The Khalida.’ Out of this, ‘The Nabila’ was the most prized possession of Khashoggi. The yacht was featured in some movies too. During his financial crisis, Khashoggi sold the yacht to Sultan of Brunei, who, in turn, sold it to the US President, Donald Trump.
Khashoggi remained surrounded in controversies due to his illegal dealings. He was involved in the ‘Iran-Contra’ scandal. It was a controversial affair, where some senior officials from the United States supplied arms to Iran, which was prohibited as per international treaties. Khashoggi was the facilitator who arranged for the deals. This was the deal that led to the downfall of his business empire.
In 1998, Khashoggi was arrested in Switzerland, on charges of concealment of funds. Later, he was extradited to the U.S, on charges of racketeering, and conspiracy. These charges were, however, subsequently dropped. In 2006, he was sued by the ‘United States Securities and Exchange Commission,’ for securities fraud. He was the financier for the internet company, ‘Genesis Intermedia, Inc,’ which committed the fraud. As his business suffered setbacks, Khashoggi defaulted in payments of his debts.
Family & Personal Life
Adnan Khashoggi married twice. In the 1960s, he married Sandra Daly, who was a British citizen. After the marriage, she converted to Islam, and adopted the name, Soraya Khashoggi. The couple had one daughter, and four sons. They divorced in 1974.
In 1978, Khashoggi married Laura Biancolini, who was an Italian national. After marriage, she converted to Islam, and changed her name to Lamia Khashoggi. They have one son.
Khashoggi was known in the social circles for his extravagance. He threw parties at his residences, which were attended by celebrities from all over. Even in times of financial crisis, Khashoggi tried to keep up his exuberant lifestyle.
Khashoggi suffered from Parkinson’s disease, during the last days of his life. On June 6, 2017, he breathed his last, at the ‘Harley Street Clinic,’ in London.
Khashoggi was the uncle of Dodi Al Fayed, who became famous for his scandalous affair with Princess Diana. He was killed in the car accident, along with Princess Diana.
Adnan Khashoggi was the uncle of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Arabian dissident and author, who was murdered at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. The incident occurred in 2018, much after the death of Adnan Khashoggi.